bay laurel

53
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Joined Sep 23, 2002
Trying to grow bay laurel outdoors in south florida. Started with a six inch plant and now two years later it has five shoots from ground level and the tallest is 20 inches. The new shoots and leaves are beautiful but when the leaves get to be about three months old they start turning brown at the tips and progress to brown about half way back. And the older leaves even if not brown look bad and not very appetizing. Is it natural for the leaves to have a short lifespan of a few months? At the stem where the leaves are attached it looks like another leaf bud. If I pick off the old leaf will a new one grow from the bud at the same spot? And should I harvest the leaves and dry them before they get to looking bad?:confused:
 
1,046
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
Just a guess here - could the leaves be getting 'sunburned'? I know bay laurel is a mediterranean plant, and likes warm climates, but am wondering if south Florida is tooooo hot?

Is your plant in the full sun? Maybe try backing it off a bit so it gets just morning sun? What about watering? Too much water will also turn the leaves.

Here's some good info on bay:
http://www.cantrap.net/correspondences/bay.html
 
53
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Joined Sep 23, 2002
marmalady

My bay laurel is in the open (screened) end of my lanai so it does get screened sun until late afternoon in the summer. We have temperatures in the high 90s sometimes but never the 100s. And in the summer rainy season it does get a lot of water. It gets occasional scale attacks but UltraFine oil controls it. I can't shade but I can withhold additional water during the dry winter season. I had heard that too little water would also cause leaf tip browning so I had been giving it extra water in the winter.
 
2,068
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Joined Dec 30, 1999
diego,

Yes, go ahead and pick off the discolored leaves, this will allow the plant to direct it's energy to growing new healthy leaves.

Don't give it extra water. Allow your soil to "dry out" (not completely of course) but allow the top of the soil to dry out (it will still retain moisture underneath).

How long have you had the plant in the container it is in and what size is the container? Do you use any type of fertilizer?
 
53
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Joined Sep 23, 2002
cchiu

My Bay Laurel is not in a container but in open ground in one end of my screened porch. I give it a little dilute 30-10-10 or 20-30-20 orchid fertilizer every couple of months.
 
2,068
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Joined Dec 30, 1999
Diego,

It is quite possibly the fertilizer you are using.

Bays are sensitive to salt build-up in the soil from synthetic fertilizers. It can cause the leaves to burn the way you describe. The best thing for you to do is dig up your bay, remove that surrounding soil, shaking away as much of the old soil from the roots as possible and add fresh, sterile, nutrient rich soil.

To prevent this from happening again, you can also water with distilled or de-ionized water.

You can add a good handful of cottonseed meal with the soil as a slow release fertilizer. If you want to supplement this fertilizer, use fish emulsion/sea kelp solution once or twice a season."

See if you can find compost from your city's recycling center, it is often extremely inexpensive and very good quality. That's the best thing you can add to your soil. I would stop using the orchid fertilizer on your bay laurel. There is a high possibility there are minerals in it that the bay laurel may be sensitive to. It really shouldn't need to be fertilized because it is a hardy plant. Sometimes us humans can try too hard. Try using a slow release fertilizer like Ozomocote or something similar. Using liquid fertilizers forces the plant to grow quickly, much like giving drinking a soda or eating a candy bar for humans, a quick fix. Bay laurels are slow growing so be patient. It may take a season for it to recover and begin to regrow at a steady rate.

Keep us updated.

:)
 
53
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Joined Sep 23, 2002
Mudbug.. Bay Laurel still alive after five more years. Havern't used any fertilizer since yur advice in 2003. Once again older leaves are looking bad. Had scale few months ago but chased it with UltraFine Oil. New leaves are scarce and old leaves not very appetizing due to scale scars. Maybe after this long I should give it a little fertilizer. Hate to dig it up but maybe just mulching a few inches deep with compost and osmokote would be appropriate. Any advice?
 
2,260
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Joined Jun 16, 2007
Wow, a thread resurrected after 5 years!! I admire your persistence, diego. Best to you on the bay laurel . . I have never grown it myself but I love it.
 
1,586
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Joined Jan 5, 2001
I've been growing bay indoors for years. I bring it out in the summer, and the leaves get burnt every time. But new pretty ones come out and the plant is just fine. I don't often fertilize, just the 'weekly' solution one every blue moon. Repot about every 2-3 years with fresh soil rich in nutrients. Nothing kills a bay tree; they are slow growing though. Browning leaves are still usable so don't discount them yet.
 
120
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Joined Dec 30, 2004
What causes scale on bay leaf? Is it a disease? I have tried twice with small potted plants. They seemed health when purchased. I water them and put them on a sunny windowsill, but not long after they develope what looks to be small "blisters", but guess it is really a scaley growth. Leaves wind up drying and turning brown, so wind up throwing the whole plant away.
 
303
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Joined Oct 15, 2007
DIEGO, it's also very possible that your bay leaf plant doesn't like the humidity where you are, and that is a fungal thing.
 
53
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Joined Sep 23, 2002
Scale. Is an insect that can be controlled with horticultural oil. Spray a couple of times a week or two apart.

Humidity. Is not a problem in Florida in the winter, our dry season.

Ramorium leaf blight. I never heard of this. Will look into it. Thanks.
 
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